Chris William Caras, Sr.
August 22, 1926 – April 1, 2017
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco announces the passing of Mr. Chris William Caras, Sr., on April 1, 2017 at the age of 90 after a long and fulfilling life. Guided by his conviction and passion for his faith along with his selfless devotion to others, Chris leaves us with a legacy of exemplary stewardship and tireless service to the Greek Orthodox Church.
“I had the pleasure of knowing Chris for many years through his stellar involvement with the church. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and was a man of great honor and respect,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos. “Chris’ life was dedicated to serving others and the many ways he offered of himself to the church have left a lasting impact for the benefit of future generations. He was always willing to answer the call and respond to the needs of his parish, the Metropolis, the Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
Chris was born in Los Angeles on August 22, 1926, the first born of Soteria and William Caras, immigrants from the Peloponnesian Peninsula of Greece. The family settled in Inglewood with brother George and sister Patricia and with extended family and fellow Greek immigrants living in adjacent homes and nearby. In 1957 he married Joan Georggin from San Diego and they raised a family in Palos Verdes Estates.
Chris worked with his father in the produce business from a young age, learning a strong work ethic and excellent interpersonal skills. His parents instilled in him an entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to education, and devotion to family and community that followed Chris throughout his life. He attended George Washington High School and UCLA where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and was a member of the wrestling team.
During high school, Chris developed a love for cars which led him to enter the car muffler business, eventually saving the money to purchase the land and build his own muffler shop named Caras Muffler Service which he proudly ran from 1953 to 1965. He then re-directed his labor to developing real estate, primarily in the South Bay.
One of his proudest accomplishments as a member of the Saint Katherine Building Committee was the recent completion of the Joan and Chris W. Caras Education Center at Saint Katherine. In addition to the Saint Katherine Building Committee, Chris was a member of the Capital Campaign Committee, Audit Committee, and chaired the construction of the parish’s original community center and kitchen. He was a founding director and also served as Vice President of the Saint Katherine Foundation, and he and his wife Joan established a Scholarship Endowment Fund as part of this effort. Chris and Joan also established a scholarship fund at the Saint Nicholas School in Northridge, CA.
Chris was active at Saint Sophia Cathedral where he previously served on the Parish Council and the Building Financial Committee. In more recent years, Chris and Joan were significant contributors to the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center. Chris served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of Leadership 100, was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute (PAOI) in Berkeley, California In recognition of his outstanding service to the church and in recognition of his distinguished and respected leadership Chris was bestowed the honor of Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Most recently, Chris and Joan received the Medal of Saint Paul, the highest honor bestowed on laity by the Greek Orthodox Church.
Chris served the civic community through his involvement with several local charities including the Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital Foundation, the Norris Theater for the Performing Arts, the Palo Verde Arts Center, the American Cancer Society and Bay Cities National Bank.
Chris enjoyed traveling, having visited six continents. Spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren were moments he cherished, and memories that will now sustain them in their grief.
Chris is survived by his wife of 59 years, Joan; beloved children: Rhea Rendon (Patrick), Stacy Tempereau (John), and Chris Caras, Jr. (Jennifer); treasured grandchildren Christopher, Sophia, Nikolas, Andreas, Chris III (“CJ”), Julianne and Grace; his sister Patricia Marchbanks (Mel); and cousins, nieces and nephews.
The Trisagion Service will be held on Monday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 722 Knob Hill, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos will officiate at the funeral service on Tuesday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1324 South Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions in honor of Chris to either: St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Building Fund, 722 Knob Hill, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, or to the Saint Sophia Cathedral Foundation, 1324 South Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006.
May his memory be eternal!